There’s a meme YouTube video by Leonardo of Biz (here) where the villainous Bogs refer to their desire to attain something called “The Akashic Records” using blockchain technology.
This random aside not just shows the attention to detail Leonardo gives what would otherwise be silly videos, but articulates something deeply troubling about a war unfolding over Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain technology, but also technology generally.
Most normal people see this comment and ask…
“What are the Akashic Records?”
In the late 1800’s, there emerged a group of spiritualists and scammers called Theosophists, principally followers of the eccentric Helena Blavatsky.
This New Age religion was a mishmash of perennialism and invented secret eastern teachings (which Blavatsky claimed to have learned in a fabricated part of her life in Tibet), with significant parallels with other universalist sects like Freemasonry. It was one of the many spiritual vultures preying on the spiritually empty as the power of Christendom waned.
The Akashic Records were their idea of a cosmic repository of all reality, past, present and future. They contain every event of the universe from all past and all future. Theosophist psychics tried to “tap into” these records to attain universal and specific knowledge.
Blockchain as Akashic Record
To explain aloud Leonardo’s subtle joke: blockchains, as they come to maturity, are functioning as Akashic Records of our own invention.
Bitcoin’s blockchain is a necessarily public ledger of all past transactions, the origin of their funds, the wallets they interact with and more. People often erroneously think that the “crypto” in cryptocurrency means that information about it is somehow “cryptic” or hidden, but this is just ignorance.
Bitcoin is substantially worse for privacy than even the most corporate credit cards, since even then credit cards don’t broadcast your transactions publicly on the internet as bitcoin must do for all submitted transactions.
As time has gone on and projects such has Ethereum have developed, blockchain technology is employing these public ledgers for an ever wide range of tasks: decentralized computing, contracting and much more…
If blockchains continue developing as they are, they will gradually record and make publicly available every transaction, action and for that matter—idle word of every human. There are projects and coins for every segment of digital life, including storing and accessing files, watching videos, interacting with the internet of things and more. A combination of greed, stupidity and neophilia are leading us to disaster world that might not be able to be undone.
The technologization of society is accelerating for most. Less and less of human life occurs without the filter, approval and overwatch of internet-connected technology. As more of this becomes part of “the Blockchain,” more of it becomes an issue of common knowledge.
A normal human reacts in fear at the idea that God the Dread Judge has a Book of Life with all actions and thoughts of all men and will judge them accordingly. A delusional theosophist might pine for the power that such knowledge would give them over others, but they needn’t pine long, since this is exactly the weaponry we are creating and leaving in the open with blockchain technology…
Technology and Will-to-Power
The greatest threat to good programming, human freedom and humanity itself is the love of technology just for technology’s sake.
There is no shortage of visionary programmers who can imagine niche uses for novel technology. But unfortunately for these people “Can I?” is a common question, but “Should I?” is fairly rare.
Pride and lust for power are the true motivations of many visionary programmers. It doesn’t feel like “lust for power” when you experience it, but there is a very Nietzschean muscle a programmer exercises when he sees a large and exploitable dataset. When you see masses of metadata, and you know you have the means at your fingertips to create something “new” with it, the temptation is almost always too difficult to resist.
Only the most mercenary and depraved programmer sets out to write software to enslave. Still, when even a semi-competent programmer sees an interesting dataset of GPS coordinates, cell-phone metadata, Bitcoin transaction data or something else, there often arises an insatiable desire to deploy this dataset in a “clever” and “useful” way.
This is the pinnacle of the “useful idiot” phenomenon. In design alone, the technology is morally and socially inert, but no technology is morally or socially inert in implementation. This is even more the case when many evil actors, governments, the media, organized power weaponize “clever” and “useful” projects to actualize private and hidden goals.
There is a deep undercurrent in modernity to have “smart” technology. Refrigerators and appliances often now connect to the internet and download software patches from their vendors. Simple finger-operated light switches have apparently been ruled passé, while voice-operated light switches that communicate with Amazon servers are the new thing.
The reason that people like Richard Stallman continue ending up sounding prophetic about the dangerous of proprietary software is because they are serious enough to realize that programming is the closest mankind has ever come to wizardry and dark arts. With such supreme power and with such a lack of oversight (either by writing closed-source code or otherwise), even the most noble programmer can be easily seduced into flexing their Will-to-Power to do the absurd.
The Antichrist and Digital Hyperreality
As we further encroach creating the Akashic Records by hand, this all might remind you of that one Voltaire quote…
You know, that one that millennial gamers will know from the ending of Deus Ex if you decide to merge yourself with the omniscient and omnipotent AI panopticon:
The zeitgeist of modernity is certainly atheistic, but at the same time, every movement in it seems to bend like pliable reeds to the desire to create a “God” of its own design.
Positivism rejects or scientifically dismisses the very metaphysical reality of “truth” and “falsity” themselves. It then encourages the assumptive jump from personal or informational subjectivity to the denial of transcendent objectivity altogether. Since this is an absurd crime even against logic, we have a natural deep-seated desire to instead create a new layer of reality on which objective and undeniable truth can be restored. This is the newly created digital realm. This is man’s electronic equivalent of God’s “Book of Life” which logs all truth in digital databases and blockchains.
Actual reality is messy, organic and is perceived subjectively—And mankind is only a part of that creation. But in the digital world, we can arrange our new lives with inviolable programs and smart contracts that have a new enforced objectivity.
Mankind is creator and omnipotent in this lesser reality, but our desire for power is so great that we want to elevate this lesser reality to something greater than reality itself. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the kinds of superpowers we can achieve with computer programming in our waking lives? If so, why not insert our waking consciousnesses into this reduced reality to wield this fantasy power?
Worst of all, you now have a class of Jordan Petersonian “intellects” denigrating and obfuscating reality to such a degree as to make the new digital Antichrist sounds like it was what we were talking about the whole time! God has been reduced to and confused with “the idea of God” or “the most powerful thing in creation.” The mentalistic world of archetypes has become the world of digital imagination, which is now held up as a replacement for the very idea of reality beyond atoms bumping into each other. We’re all theosophists! We’re all Free Masons now!
It is now held as an ideal to create our “Creator” and imbue digital technology with as much power and omniscience as possible. People will soon unironically call themselves religious because they worship a created techno-god because they have been duped into believing this is what “God” always meant.
It’s naturally common for Christians to interpret the singular final antichrist to be an individual person, but at this point, a much more obvious “beast system” to marvel at is a technological system in itself consummated in something that looks like God.
Transhumanism and Singularity as Pattern Extrapolation
This entire budding techno-futurist religion has a simple origin. The human mind sees patterns.
In every moment of history, every society manages to “see patterns” by extrapolating the past presented to them, just adding on a couple extra steps (also presented to them). Do not mistake your extrapolation of recent events to be a foundational direction of the universe.
For example, John von Neumann, the most notable polymath of the 20th century took the geometric proliferation of nuclear arms and their Game Theoretics seriously—and unironically recommended immediate nuclear war. His obituary in Life (Feb 25, 1957; p. 96) says of his thinking the following:
[He] observed at that time: “With the Russians it is not a question of whether but when.” A hard-boiled strategist, he was one of the few scientists to advocate for preemptive war, and in 1950 he was remarking, “If you say why not bomb them tomorrow, I say why not today? If you say today at 5 o’clock, I say why not 1 o’clock?”
Thankfully most people lacked the iron-clad logic of von Neumann and we avoided nuclear holocaust.
In our modern world, this lazy tendency of extrapolation often manifests in a kind of Transhumanism or belief in technological “Singularity”.
This is a utopian or millenarian belief that we can eternally extrapolate geometric increases in increased technological or computational power to a point where technological improvement becomes instant, effortless, yet infinite. Technology seems to have significantly accelerated in human life, so it seems to these people that we should assume it continues to do so, apparently with the idea that there is no factor in human psychology, physiological, neuroscience or even economy that could ever be a principled boundary for this tumorous growth.
Transhumanists, as their name suggests, ultimately believe in what they might glowingly describe as humans “transcending their biology and psychology” or other cloudy terms. In reality, these people are pining for the death of humanity, or as some absurdly put it, “human civilization surviving [sic] in human-created AI.”
They imagine husks of biological humanity, perfectly climate-controlled by vaccines, “augmentations,” and directly-injected stimulation and entertainment, embedded in a casket of metal for their entire lives. They imagine human-created robots, then totally de-tethered from their creators, exploring the universe and installing robot colonies on distant planets. In some perverted way, they call this genocidal conquest of humanity humanity itself, or humanity “improved.”
This is the Gnostic Heresy reborn, but worse than original Gnostics, who at least believed in the structure beyond matter, and who consistently denigrated matter compared to it. These new Gnostics believe in creating this realm of ideas, but destroying and mutilating the human mind and body that they believe to be the very metric of value of this new realm. In a literal sense, they want to destroy nature, mankind and the universe as they know it.
Cucked by “Inevitability”
Transhumanists take a page from Marx’s book in passing of their true desire as being a scientific “inevitability.” They argue that singularity will happen, therefore, by some leap of logic, it should, or even its many consequences or birth-pangs are therefore good. This is absurd.
If, after all, an asteroid were hurdling towards this planet capable of wiping out human life, only a moron refuse to act saying that “It’s inevitable,” or “It’s the clear direction of history.” At that, the trajectory of an asteroid is an issue of math, while any alleged trajectory of history is an issue of pure fantasy.
I mention this to say that transhumanists often try to pass of their fantasies of the future as being “inevitable,” when in fact, they are merely titillating ideas that appeal to their imaginations formed for years under the influence of interesting fantasy futurism in film, fiction and modern culture.
So, our state of affairs…
- The influence of technology is at a local high point now. It has become over-encompassing enough to be reminiscent of omnipotence and omniscience.
- In our godless age, this power naturally breeds a kind of worship from godless people. It provides not only a pseudo-divinity, but a new arena for a new objectivity that out-classes the skepticism of post-modernity.
- There are psychological (and material) incentives for people to continue expanding the power of this technological system, and build it new powers to monitor and control people.
- There are utopian and millennialist sects going by various names that concoct rationalizations to expand the power of this technological system, expand its range and shield it from questioning.
I will leave for the future why I so quickly dismiss the supposed inevitability of “singularity.” Perhaps in the next episode…